The King's Head Theatre was one of eleven small London Theatres to receive funding from the Theatres Trust London Small Theatres Grants Scheme for projects that improve operation, access and environment for all theatre users.
The lack of representation of disability on and off-stage is something the theatre aims to address in its new building. A Theatres Trust London Small Grant Scheme award will help ensure the new venue can support the access requirements of a diverse range of practitioners and audiences.
Four other theatres were able to apply for the first time thanks to changes made to the tenure and charitable structure criteria to widen eligibility: Coronet Theatre, Matchstick Piehouse, Pentameters and 2Northdown.
Hampstead’s pub theatre, Pentameters, will undertake urgent electrical works which will protect this well-loved local theatre – this grant is the first the venue has ever received.
The Coronet Theatre will be able to provide induction loop facilities for the hearing impaired as it upgrades its sound system; and the King’s Head Theatre, will be able to fund an accessible lift in its brand new basement theatre home.
Matchstick Piehouse, a new 60-seat railway arch theatre, will improve the flexibility of its auditorium with extra sound proofing and rigging positions. A benefit to all users, this work will also reduce the risk of noise complaints from neighbours.
Also newly eligible 2Northdown, a small comedy venue in King’s Cross, the testing ground for comedians expanding from stand-up, will install a permanent stage allowing artists the facilities to present this art form more theatrically.
Six other theatres receive Theatres Trust funding to ensure better facilities for audience and artist. The Bernie Grant Arts Centre, in Tottenham, will ensure the safety of its visitors by installing improved security systems, and those attending the Pleasance Theatre Islington and Studio 3 Arts will benefit from upgraded heating and cooling systems.
The Grade II listed Greenwich Theatre will enhance its new studio space for small-scale productions by installing a new removable rostra platform and creating a new dressing room, so it can better support artists, staff and audiences at rehearsals and during performances; and the The Playground Theatre, a converted bus depot which opened last year as a producing theatre, will enhance the functioning of the site with better external signage, working lights and theatre curtains. And finally the Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre, a 150-seat amateur theatre will refurbish and upgrade its accessible toilets, after water damage from a leaky roof.
Tom Stickland, Theatres Adviser at the Theatres Trust said: “The eleven projects awarded funding this round really highlight the diversity and heritage of London’s small theatres – with widened eligibility criteria we are now able to support pub theatres that are stalwarts of their local communities, and more exciting new spaces just beginning to establish a loyal following. The small theatres of London create a unique ecology that is central to what makes the city a global cultural capital, and artists and audiences at these theatre deserve excellent facilities and experiences.”
The next round of the London Small Theatres Grants Scheme is now open. The deadline for applications is 13 January at noon. Further details about the scheme can be found: theatrestrust.org.uk/grants